A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Abyssinian, Amarigna, Amarinya, Amhara, Ethiopian

21,600,000 in Ethiopia (2007 census). 14,750,000 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 21,811,560.


North central, Amhara Region; Addis Ababa. Also in Canada, Djibouti, Egypt, Israel, United States.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national working language (1994, Constitution, Art 5(2)), also statutory provincial language.


SOV; prepositions, postpositions, genitives, articles, and relatives precede noun heads; question word initial; case affixes; verb suffixes show person, number, gender of subject and (optionally) object; passives including deponents, causatives, CV, CVC, V, CVCC

Language Use

4,000,000 L2 speakers. All domains. Also use English [eng], Arabic [arb], Oromo [hae], or Tigrinya [tir].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 28%. Literacy rate in L2: 28%. Taught in primary schools. Fully developed. Bible: 1840–1988.
Braille script. Ethiopic script, primary usage.
Other Comments

People suffer from famines. Christian, Jewish.

Also spoken in:

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